Imperative is the seventh installment of the Starfire series that started with the publication of Insurrection in 1990. It details events in the universe from the Starfire games which were initially released as board games in 1979 but have continued into the computer era.
Imperative occurs several years after the war with the Arduans chronicled in Book 6. In this new war later Arduan dispersates attack the races of the Pan-Sentient Union, Rim Federation, and Terran Republic. The old enemies, the Arachnids, reappear and it is not clear if the new threat can be contained and defeated.
As usual the characters and races are portrayed realistically and the element of the individual is not overpowered by the clashes of titanic fleets in deep space. There is a perfect balance of fleet action and personal stories. The action is impressively written and the strategic considerations of war point warfare are explained well.
The book ends on a cliffhanger of sorts so it is clear that we can expect at least one more installment in this excellent series. This is classic sci-fi that deals with big issues on a vast scale. The excellent storytelling sucks the reader in and leaves you wanting more. If you have not read any of the Starfire books you need to start with the first and read them all to avoid being lost in the story as they combine to form a history of sorts.
This is an excellent addition to the series and I am eft eagerly awaiting the publication of the next installment in the story of the Starfire universe. An outstanding book that I highly recommend.